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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
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View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Rural common property resources: a growing crisis.
View the document2. Making haste slowly: strengthening local environmental management in agricultural development.
View the document3. Farming for the future: an introduction to low-external-input and sustainable agriculture.
View the document4. Public policies affecting natural resources and the environment.
View the document5. Human development and sustainability.
View the document6. Caring for the earth - a strategy for sustainable living.
View the document7. Agriculture and natural resources: a manual for development workers.
View the document8. Environmental guidelines for resettlement projects in the humid tropics.
View the document9. Saving the tropical forests.
View the document10. Values for the environment, a guide to economic appraisal.
View the document11. Alcohol fuels - options for developing countries.
View the document12. Diffusion of biomass energy technologies in developing countries.
View the document13 When aid is no help: how projects fail, and how they could succeed.
View the document14. Natural resources and the human environment for food and agriculture.
View the document15. World development report 1992 - development and the environment.
View the document16. Species interactions and community ecology in low external-input agriculture.
View the document17. Development strategies and natural resource management for humid tropical lowlands.
View the document18. Environmental management of the northern zone consolidation project in Costa Rica: strategies for sustainable development.
View the document19. Environmental assessment: the valles altos project in Bolivia.
View the document20. Environmental crisis in Asia-Pacific.
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agrometeorology
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Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands
 

14. Natural resources and the human environment for food and agriculture.

FAO Environment Paper No. 1, FAO, Rome, Italy; ISBN 92-5-100967-8; 1980, 62 pp.

FAO has prepared this report on Natural Resources and the Human Environment for Food and Agriculture.

This publication is the first in the technical series on natural resources and the human environment.

This report is an attempt to focus on global level population pressure, natural resources use and management, with particular reference to increased food and agricultural demand and environmental issues.

The demand on the natural resources that sustain man's existence has increased enormously with the unprecedented rise in numbers that has occurred in recent times.

The past population growth has already placed considerable pressure on natural resources, and has in many cases led to their degradation and depletion. In the future this pressure will become even greater.

At the global level, the world's natural resources appear to be adequate for mankind's likely needs. However, they are unevenly distributed in relation to the population and its demands on them, and their utilization thus creates environmental problems in particular areas.

In developing countries, the major environmental concern is not so much the pollution of natural resources as their degradation or depletion.

The rapid increase in the population of these countries has placed great pressure on natural resources. The consequent drive to intensify production has caused the dislocation of traditional agricultural systems, and has led to sometimes hasty attempts to replace them by modern agricultural systems and technologies that are not compatible with the prevailing ecological and socio-economic conditions.

Although the environmental problems of the developed and developing countries are different, their experience in overcoming them could be mutually beneficial. There are a number of main types of action that are required at the national and regional levels for the assessment of natural resources and for their rational management so that the demands on them can be met on a sustained basis:

 

- It is necessary to reduce the knowledge gaps in the assessment of natural resources, by means of adaptive research on the introduction of new technologies in traditional agricultural systems.

- A further requirement for the improved assessment of natural resources is the development of coherent networks of data on these resources.

- There is a need for integrated land use planning.

- It is important to concentrate the intensification of agricultural production as far as possible in the most suitable areas. This will reduce the pressure on marginal lands which are ecologically fragile and subject to rapid degradation if they are exploited beyond their productive capacity.

- A further requirement is the promotion of well-adapted systems of production that integrate modern technology with the traditional systems of resource management.

- It will be necessary to develop adequate rural institutions and infrastructures, including extension, credit and marketing services that are adapted to the needs of small farmers.

- It is necessary to develop a legal system to define the rights and duties of individuals or groups in relation to the utilization of natural resources in the light of their ecological limitations.

- Education on the better management and conservation of the natural resources used in agriculture is another requirement.

With respect to the existing degradation and loss of natural resources, the highest priority attaches to the control of soil erosion, soil salinity and desertification and the conservation of fish stocks and of genetic resources. Soil erosion must be controlled and eroded land reclaimed on a watershed basis, through appropriate practices for the management and conservation of soil and water resources. Salinization should be controlled and saline soils reclaimed through proper irrigation practices and drainage systems. Desertification control requires the management of vegetation according to ecological principles, including massive programmes of reforestation. The pressure on marine fish stocks can be reduced not only by agreed international measures but also by the development and promotion of aquaculture. A further major priority is for the conservation of endangered genetic resources.

This report is not exhaustive. It is a first approach and will need to be progressively improved and refined. Although global in scope, it uses illustrations and draws on specific data from a number of countries. It also provides a framework for other similar studies at national, regional, and village levels.

1145 92 - 5/121

Agroecology

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